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King concerned about environment

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2008 at 16:42 PM
His Majesty the King has expressed concern over the possible environmental impact caused by a coastal erosion prevention project in Bangkok's Bang Khunthian district and asked the Marine and Coastal Resources Department to keep him updated on the scheme. Samran Rakchart, the department chief, said yesterday that former prime minister Samak Sundaravej had informed relevant officials about the King's concern prior to leaving office. "We have been told to report any projects involving coastal erosion prevention, especially along the Gulf coast, to His Majesty," Mr Samran said. A group of Bang Khunthian residents recently petitioned the King to look into the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's plan to build detached breakwaters known as T-groins to save the shoreline. The residents said the project, worth around 300 million baht, was not the right solution to the problem and would have an immense impact on fishing villages along the coast as it could alter the direction of sea waves, which could damage the coastline. They demanded City Hall consider other measures that could lessen the impact on coastal and marine ecology, such as sea walls made of bamboo. Mr Samran said the department would take into consideration local wisdom in combating coastal erosion. Bamboo walls had proven effective in breaking the waves and trapping sediment. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Economy slowing down

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2008 at 16:39 PM
The Thai economy in August became sluggish for the first time this year due to the sub-prime mortgage losses in the United States, which erupted in the second quarter and later affected economies in Europe and many other countries worldwide, a senior Bank of Thailand (BoT) official said Tuesday. Titanun Malikamas, senior director of BoT's Domestic Economy Department, said Thailand's exports in August this year grew at a slower pace - only 15.5 per cent - compared to 43.9 per cent growth in July. Export growth to the US - Thailand's main customer - declined in August to 6.3 from 20 per cent year-on-year, and that of Europe to 6.2 from 16 per cent. Thai exports to new markets among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plunged to 14 from 68 per cent, to China declined to 1.4 from 37.2 per cent and Taiwan contracted 8 per cent from 5.5 per cent. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Now they want Somchai

Posted by hasekamp on 30 September 2008 at 16:36 PM
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said yesterday he was not disturbed that he would be investigated for allegedly violating the Constitution by holding shares in CS Loxinfo that has a concession with CAT, and having his daughter hold shares in M Link, a company that operates a state concession. "For the investigation, everything must go in accordance with the law. I had announced clearly that I accepted to become head of the government and I will uphold principles and justice," he said. He was speaking after appointed Senator Ruengkrai Leekitwattana filed a complaint with the Election Commission to check if Somchai had violated the charter and should be disqualified and removed from his post. Ruengkrai's earlier complaint against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej, of violating the Constitution by continuing to host his cooking program despite being head of government, had resulted in Samak losing his premiership early this month. Ruengkrai said he suspected Somchai may have disqualified himself since January 22 this year by allegedly holding shares in CS Loxinfo, which operates a state concession or is a contract partner of a state enterprise. That would be a violation of Article 265 (2), resulting in him being disqualified as an MP as per Article 106 (6), and disqualified as PM as per Article 171. (Source: The Nation)


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Heavy rain all over Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2008 at 12:07 PM
The Meteorological Department Monday warned people around the country to brace themselves for heavy rains Monday and Tuesday. The people living near mountains, waterways and rivers were also warned to brace themselves for possible flash floods. The department said the heavy rains would be unleashed by influence of a low pressure ridge over the North and Northeast coupled with influence of a depression storm in the middle part of the China Sea. (Source: The Nation)


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No Thai speech at the UN

Posted by hasekamp on 29 September 2008 at 12:06 PM
Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat skipped his speech at the United Nations General Assembly due to fear of violating the constitution since his government has not yet announced policies to the parliament. Sompong was scheduled to deliver his speech to the assembly on Monday at the UN headquarter in New York but he assigned the Thai Permanent Representative to the UN Don Pramudwinai to deliver on behalf of the Thai government. "As long as the government has not yet announced the policy to the parliament, I should not say anything about policy commitment to the international community," Sompong told reporters. The 2007 Constitution's article 176 requires the government to announce its policies to the parliament before running the administration. The second paragraph of the article allows the ministers to function only in urgent matters or to prevent damage. "I consider that the speech is not an urgent matter. There would be no damage to national interest if I did not make the speech, he said.
Is it the constitution - as officially stated - or fear for something else that made the minister withdraw his speech? (Source: The Nation)


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PAD meets security

Posted by hasekamp on 28 September 2008 at 7:08 AM
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters here clashed with airport security shortly after the arrival of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Saturday. The incident took place after Mr. Somchai, appointed prime minister on September 18 and his party were leaving the airport and confronted a group of PAD protesters. Minor clashes between security personnel and the PAD took place but no casualties were reported. Mr. Somchai is making a day-visit to his hometown in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, near Surat Thani. The PAD protesters had earlier threatened to close airports in the region in civil obedience against Mr. Somchai, a brother-in-law of ousted, fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now seeking political asylum in Britain.
Mr. Somchai told journalists at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport before leaving for Surat Thani that a proposal made jointly by 24 rectors of state and privately-run universities following their meeting Thursday asking him to promote political reform by establishing an independent four-point Reform Commission was "interesting" but he preferred not speak much on politics at present. He said opinions on resolving local political turmoil could be discussed without a problem but the country must adhere to the democratic system having the king as the pillar. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Vegetarian Festival 2008

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2008 at 9:23 AM
Many people in Thailand are going to celebrate the Vegetarian Festival, when they refrain from consuming meat. If you are vegetarian, this is a perfect time to enjoy your stay in Thailand, as numerous kinds of vegetarian food are available in various areas. The Vegetarian Festival has little to do with vegetarianism in the Western sense. It draws its name from the fact that practitioners do not eat meat for a spell. The festival is observed from the first to the ninth day in the ninth month of the Chinese calendar, or the eleventh Thai lunar month. This year, the celebration takes place from September 29 to October 7. It is the time for purifying one\92s body and mind. In observing the Vegetarian Festival, many people dress in white and pay homage to spirits in Chinese shrines. Apart from not taking meat, they also refrain from taking some vegetables with a strong smell, such as garlic, onion, spring onion, Chinese chive, and Chinese parsley. Vegetables and fruits are the main raw materials for a vegetarian diet. With the culinary ability of Thai cooks, some vegetarian dishes made from soya look and taste like meat. Herbal drinks, fruit juices, and soya milk are popular among vegetarians in Thailand. Good vegetarian food must contain sufficient nutritional value and not be too oily. The Vegetarian Festival is celebrated everywhere in Thailand, but Phuket is one of the provinces where the event is held on a wide scale. During this period, all Chinese shrines in Phuket are open for rituals of self-purification. (Source: The Nation)


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Will the real PAD please step forward

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2008 at 9:09 AM
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leader Chamlong Srimuang said the moves of PAD in the South is independent, and is not related in any way with the central PAD. On Saturday morning, more than 100 PAD members in the South gathered at Surat Thani province to protest the arrival of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Maj-Gen Chamlong said regional PAD has the freedom to do what they want, and the PAD core leaders are not involved in their actions. He said the core leaders could not stop their actions because each individual has the right to show their opposition against the government.
This is of course a very cheap excuse. If the PAD does not have any control over its "members" or "followers", what do they think they are at all? Mr.Chamlong keeps silent when the "PAD" in the south organizes something he likes, but tries to take distance when they organize something he feels will give the PAD a bad name.
We now know that many actions "by the PAD" are not controlled by a movement with the same name under the leadership of Mr. Chamlong. So,will the "real" PAD please step forward?


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Many motorbike accidents by foreigners

Posted by hasekamp on 27 September 2008 at 8:59 AM
The poorly-regulated \93motorbike for hire\94 industry in Patong has contributed to an alarming number of motorcycle accidents in Kathu district, where more than half of the 500 accidents reported to Kathu Police involved unlicensed foreign motorcyclists, the government\92s Thai News Agency (TNA) has reported. With many motorcycle rental shops in Patong, foreign tourists and expats can easily rent a motorcycle without having a license, as this is not strictly monitored by the authorities, TNA reported. For many tourists, renting a motorbike in Patong is an attractive option as a single ride in a tuk-tuk in the resort town, which charges the most expensive tuk tuk fares in the country, will cost about the same or less as the rental of a motorbike for a 24-hour period \96 about 150 baht. Kathu Police Superintendent Col Grissak Songmoonnark was quoted as saying, \93About 60% of motorcycle accidents are from unlicensed foreign motorcyclists, but there are so many unlicensed foreign motorcyclists that we can\92t check the exact number. We can count only when accidents occur.\94 Local residents have also expressed their concern about some foreign motorcyclists whose reckless riding has tarnished the image of one of the world\92s top tourist destinations. Some foreigners simply do not even know Thai traffic rules. Many like to ride fast, frightening local people and other foreign tourists seeking a peaceful holiday, the TNA report read. Motorbike licenses are obtained by submitting identification documents and a work permit or an address guaranteed by the Thai Immigration Office, then passing written and practical tests. The process can be done in a day. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Fifth warrant for Thaksin

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2008 at 17:26 PM
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a warrant to arrest former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra after he failed to show up for the arraignment hearing on graft charges relating to the lottery case. This is the fourth warrant to be served on Thaksin since his exile in London last month. The high court convened its session on the lottery case involving 47 defendants, including Thaksin and his ministers. Among the defendants are three incumbent Cabinet members, Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, Labour Minister Uraiwan Thienthong and Industry Minister Pracha Promnok. The three took leave of absent from today's Cabinet meeting in order to appear before the high court. With the exception of Thaksin who was absent, all 46 defendants entered a plea of not guilty. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD threatens to block airports

Posted by hasekamp on 26 September 2008 at 17:22 PM
Supporters of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said on Friday they will close five airports in the South to try to stop a visit by new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to his home town. The five airports are Hat Yai, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Phuket. PAD said they will close all of them with human barricades to prevent a visit by Mr Somchai scheduled for Saturday. Mr Somchai planned to visit his hometown in Surat Thani province to celebrate being named prime minister. He was scheduled to land at Surat Thani on Saturday, but he may try to use another airport in the region because of the militant actions of the anti-government group. Sunthorn Rakwong, core leader of PAD group in the South, said the move is to show Mr Somchai he is not welcome in the South because he is a nominee of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the premier's brother in law.
In our humble opinion this has nothing to do with protesting and this has nothing to do with fighting for democracy (if that is what the PAD is after). (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Normalization is high priority

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2008 at 14:33 PM
Ending the dispute with the anti-government demonstrators led by the People's Alliance for Democracy is a high priority for the government, which was endorsed yesterday by His Majesty the King, an official says. The administration is expected to take an oath before His Majesty today and could hold an informal meeting tomorrow at the temporary office at Don Mueang international airport. The government will not officially function until it declares its policies in the House, expected to be next week. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has assigned former foreign minister and People Power party (PPP) member Noppadon Pattama to design a platform. He held talks with National Economic and Social Development Board secretary-general Ampon Kittiampon yesterday at the PPP headquarters and will discuss the policies with the leaders of all seven coalition parties tomorrow. According to Mr Noppadon, the government's urgent tasks include national reconciliation. Other important policies are the border problem with Cambodia, implementation of mega-projects, better education, foreign investment promotion, more lending for the poor and schemes to revive the sagging economy. (S0urce: The Bangkok Post)


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Royal endorsement for new cabinet

Posted by hasekamp on 25 September 2008 at 14:30 PM
His Majesty the King endorsed Somchai Wongsawat as Thailand's 26th Prime Minister and his 35 cabinet ministers on Wednesday. There were no major surprises. Here is the complete line-up:
Mr Somchai also takes a double position as Defense Minister. Former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former justice minister Sompong Amornwiwat, former deputy prime minister Sanan Kachornprasart, former deputy public health minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and Olarn Chaiprawat take the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Sompong also doubles as Foreign Minister. Sukhumpong Noankam and Supon Fong-ngarm take the post of Prime Minister's Office Minister. Suchart Thadathamrongvej is Finance Minister. Pradit Phattaraprasit and Ranongrak Suvarnchawee are his deputies. Chaiya Sasomsab is Commerce Minister. Songkram Kitlertpairote and Pol Lt Col Banyin Tangpakorn are his deputies. Pracha Promnok serves as Industry Minister while Wannarat Charnnukul becomes Energy Minister. Pol Gen Kowit Wattana is Interior Minister, while Preecha Rengsomboonsuk and Prasong Kositanond are his deputies. Somsak Kiatsuranont becomes Justice Minister. Santi Prompat maintains the post of Transport Minister. Sophon Saram and Sarawut Silpa-archa are his deputies. Veerasak Kowsurat is Tourism and Sports Minister while Udomdech Rattanasathien is Social Development and Human Security Minister. Somsak Prissananantakul is Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister. Sompat Kaewpichit and Theerachai Saenkaew are his deputies. Anongwan Thepsuthin is Natural Resources and Environment Minister while Man Patthanothai becomes Information and Communications Technology Minister. Uraiwan Thienthong is Labour Minister while Worawat Ua-apinyakul is Culture Minister. Wuthipong Chaisaeng becomes Science and Technology Minister while Srimuang Charoensiri is Education Minister. Pol Capt Chalerm Yubamrung becomes Public Health Minister. Wicharn Meenchainand is his deputy.


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Heavy rain expected

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2008 at 13:20 PM
As severe flooding batters wide areas of Thailand, the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is pumping accumulated floodwaters into the Chao Phraya River, while it is forecast that heavy rains are expected in lower central and eastern parts of the country from September 28-30. RID deputy director-general Veera Vongsaengnak said his officials had begun pumping floodwaters into the river since Sunday in response to massive runoff from the North. Also, the Meteorological Department has forecast heavy downpours during September 28-30 in the lower central and eastern regions. Little rainfall is expected during the three-day period in the North. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Democracy according to the PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 22 September 2008 at 13:17 PM
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has come up with a draft of its plan for what it calls New Politics, to give people an idea of what it actually is, PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said yesterday. It was finalized at a meeting at Government House yesterday attended by PAD core leaders, along with academics and representatives of state enterprise workers. Mr Suriyasai said the draft calls for all members of the House to be elected. This means the 70:30 system that was earlier proposed by PAD leaders has been dropped. The 70:30 system had the members of 70% of House seats being appointed and the remaining 30% being elected. But under the new draft, some of the legislators would be voted in through elections by the public, whereas others would be elected by representatives of various professions. The draft requires politicians to sign an agreement promising to comply with an ethics code before taking office. However, Mr Suriyasai said the alliance had yet to decide what the proportion should be between MPs voted in through direct and indirect elections. So the PAD changes its views regularly, it seems, and in fact it does not know what it wants. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand should not change its system

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2008 at 10:25 AM
Democrat party spokesman Buranaj Samutharak called on the government to clearly announce that it will not amend the constitution and grant amnesty to the 111 former executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party, if it wants the negotiation with the People\92s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to be successful. According Mr Buranaj, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat\92s initiative to negotiate with the anti-government group can ease the row crisis at a certain level, but the premier should expressed his confidence in the credibility of Thailand\92s legal system. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding update

Posted by hasekamp on 21 September 2008 at 10:22 AM
Flooding in upper and central Thailand sickened more than 121,000 people, the Ministry of Public Health reported. After mobile medical units under His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn were dispatched to different flood-hit provinces, 121,407 people were found ill, according to Permanent Secretary for Public Health Prat Boonyawongvirot. Most cases contracted athlete\92s foot (tinea pedis) followed by flu and rash, he said. 69,641 people were found ill in the inundated areas on Saturday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding all over Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 20 September 2008 at 9:16 AM
Many Thai provinces are now struggling with flood response measures, as heavy flooding claimed two more lives in the north. In Mae Hong Son, sudden torrent of waters spilled from a creek in Mae Sariang district, sweeping away a couple who were riding on a motorcycle. The husband struggled to safety, making his escape from the strong tide, but his wife drowned. Meanwhile, in Phichit's Wangkrot municipality, a 72-year-old woman died when she was hit by a flash flood from Phetchabun hill when she tried to move her belongings under her home, apparently trapped and drowned as the waters rose. Flooding in Phichit municipality is still critical as waters from the Nan River joined with mountain torrents to raise the level of the floodwaters. They delayed the drainage the water to Nan River. Director-General Anucha Mokkhavesa of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said that six flood deaths were recorded nationwide. Some 520,000 people in 18 provinces has been displaced or otherwise affected, with total damage estimated at Bt28 million. Floods have receded in 12 provinces, but continues in six provinces, including Phisanulok, Lop Buri, Phichit, Khon Kaen, Mae Hong Son, and Saraburi. With no more rain it is believed that the situation will return to normal within one week. In Nong Bua Lam Phu, four deaths were reported, while the Chee River overflowed its banks, flooding 28,000 acres of farmland in Maha Sarakham.
Local authorities have geared up to drain water from flooded areas.
In Prachin Buri, forest run-off from Khao Yai national park rampaged through three villages in the provincial seat. The sudden flood hit the villages Thursday night, affecting some 200 homes.
In the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum, flooding forced municipality schools to close and residents moved their belonging to higher ground, carrying three people away. Over 4,000 acres of farmland and 400 roads were submerged. The northeastern province of Yasothorn declared three districts disaster areas, with 80 homes and farmland in Pa Tiu district under two metre waters. His Majesty the King ordered the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under royal patronage to distribute relief supplies to villagers in Sukhothai, while HRH Princess Soamsavali told her representatives to issue relief supplies to flood victims in Lop Buri's Ban Mi district and to install an emergency radio system there for villagers to directly contact the Red Cross for help. (Source: Thai News Agenvy)


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Border talks will continue

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2008 at 13:14 PM
Newly elected Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said Thursday he is ready to hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen to settle a simmering border spat. "I'm ready to talk with Prime Minister Hun Sen to achieve better understanding and mutual benefit," Somchai told reporters during a visit to the foreign ministry. The lower house elected Somchai, brother in law of ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, to the premier job on Wednesday. He chose to visit foreign ministry on his first day in office. Somchai added he expected Thai and Cambodian delegates to meet on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next week. Thailand and Cambodia have swapped accusations of violating each other's territory in the dispute over land near ancient temples along their border. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday accused Thai soldiers of being thieves "creating anarchy" around border areas, while the Thai foreign ministry responded that armed Cambodian units had invaded into its territory in August and September. Thai Foreign Ministry summoned this week Cambodia ambassador Ung Sean to protest the invasion. Hun Sen has warned that he might take his boundary complaints to the UN Security Council or international courts if they cannot resolve their border conflicts. Under his government, Thailand is ready to continue talking with Cambodia over the issue for the benefits of both countries and people. Somchai, however, declined to reveal who will be foreign minister of his government. (Source: The Nation)


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Royal command for Somchai

Posted by hasekamp on 18 September 2008 at 13:11 PM
His Majesty signs royal command to appoint new PM. His Majesty the King signed a royal command to appoint Somchai Wongsawat as the new prime minister. His Majesty granted an audience to Parliament President Chai Chidchob to nominate Somchai for the royal appointment at the Kraikungwol Palace in Hua Hin. (Source: The Nation)


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No new elections

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2008 at 15:36 PM
Acting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said on Tuesday he was certain that politicians could haggle a new government - and said he had not even considered dissolution of the House. "We should be able to negotiate and compromise this afternoon," he told reporters ahead of a key meeting of the People Power party "We will work it out. I have never thought about dissolving parliament." House dissolution and yet another election appeared highly likely early on Tuesday, after the PPP split on Monday over who should be the next premier. He will keep parliament in session. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New PM

Posted by hasekamp on 17 September 2008 at 15:32 PM
Deputy leader of People Power party (PPP) Somchai Wongsawat was elected prime minister by parliament as expected on Wednesday morning with a solid 298 votes from PPP and the coalition. He is the 26th prime minister in moder Thai history. The opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, nominated as a token candidate to oppose the government, received 163 votes from his Democrat party members. There were five MPs who abstained from voting. After the House speaker adjourned the meeting, Mr Somchai later greeted Mr Abhisit and thanked core members of the coalition parties, such as Chart Thai party leader Banharn Silpa-archa and Pracharaj party leader Sanoh Thienthong, for giving him support. Mr Somchai, brother-in-law to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, will take office once he is endorsed by His Majesty the King. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Coalition wants Somchai

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2008 at 18:04 PM
Leaders of six coalition parties held a news conference after dinner on Tuesday night, announcing their decision to stay in the government and to back deputy leader of People Power party (PPP) Somchai Wongsawat as prime minister. The conference, held at JW Marriott hotel in Bangkok, was attended by Chart Thai party leader Banharn Silpa-archa, its deputy leader Somsak Prissananantakul, Pracharaj chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart, Pracharaj deputy leader Uraiwan Thienthong, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana leader Chetta Thanajaro, its deputy leader Prapas Limprapan, Matchimathipataya party leader Anongwan Thepsuthin, its secretary-general Banyin Tangpakorn, Puea Pandin leader Suvit Khunkitti, its deputy leader Ranongrak Suwanchawee and its spokesman Chaiyos Jiramethakorn.
Mr Somchai, caretaker prime minister, thanked the leaders and MPs of the coalition parties for supporting him. "The six parties will form the government together, and will vote for the prime minister tomorrow (Wednesday)," Mr Somchai, brother-in-law of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, said at the news conference. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Press does not yield to PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 16 September 2008 at 18:00 PM
Government House reporters on Tuesday refused to bow to the People's Alliance for Democracy leaders' demand for them to pose questions on rally stage, citing personal safety and possible pressure from the PAD supporters. Chamlong Srimuang, a leader of the PAD said on stage Tuesday that the PAD's five leaders would give their daily press conference on the PAD rally stage from 10-10.30am, instead of at the press room of the Government House. If reporters have any questions, they can ask them on the stage and microphones are made available for reporters, he said. He reasoned that the PAD protesters could get information about what their leaders said immediately without having to wait to read on the newspapers on the next day.
However reporters opposed the change, saying they may not be able to freely ask any question since they would be among PAD supporters who may get upset if reporters asked questions which they did not like. Besides the PAD can broadcast the press conference through ASTV, the reporters cited. (Source: The Nation)


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End of State of Emergency

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2008 at 12:34 PM
Acting prime minister Somchai Wongsawat lifted the state of emergency in Bangkok on Sunday, citing it damage the country. Somchai said tensions had eased in Bangkok since the emergency was imposed early last month after pro and anti government protesters clashed in violence that left one person dead and dozens injured. "We have analyzed that the situation is less serious and if we still maintain the state of emergency, it might damage the country," acting premier Somchai said after meeting the country's army chief and other officials. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding again

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2008 at 12:31 PM
Heavy downpours continued to batter the northern and northeastern regions yesterday, triggering more flash floods and inundating many districts and swamping more farmland. Hardest-hit yesterday was Lop Buri where strong torrents from mountain run-offs put roads and more than 30 villages under water. In neighbouring Ayutthaya, the rising water level in the Chao Phraya river forced the provincial governor to ring the alarm bells and declare all 16 districts disaster zones. In Lop Buri, the most severely hit villages were in Khok Samrong district where run-off from the Jorake and Ta Pao mountain ranges swamped the areas. The flooding also cut off access to many roads in Ban Mi district. Residents were badly in need of help and relief supplies. The Chao Phraya, which is largely fed by five rivers serving as its tributaries in northern Thailand, is causing serious concern in many provinces through which it runs. Among them is Ayutthaya, whose riverside districts are inundated every year. Villagers living along the banks of the Chao Phraya are unlikely to be spared heavy flooding. The river's water level has risen rapidly since Friday night, forcing officials to release more water from the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat. This has caused alarm among villagers who say they were not told in advance. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD goes on

Posted by hasekamp on 14 September 2008 at 12:28 PM
The People\92s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Sunday announced that the anti-government rally will continue regardless of the government\92s decision to lift the state of emergency decree in Bangkok. Two key members of the PAD, Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang and Mr Somsak Kosaikul, held a press conference on Sunday morning, said the government\92s enforcement of the emergency decree has affected many sectors of the country, and it is unrelated to the PAD. As for People Power party (PPP) deputy leader Kan Tienkaew\92s proposal to withdraw the insurrection charges of the nine PAD core members while granting amnesty for the 111 Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) executives, the PAD leaders rejected the proposal. They have not entered the legal system, and the Constitution Court has already ruled that the 111 TRT executives are guilty, the group leaders said. Maj Gen Chamlong and Mr Somsak said the PAD will not accept caretaker deputy prime minister and finance minister Surapong Suebwonglee, caretaker prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and caretaker justice minister Somchai Amornwiwat as the new premier. They added that the group will not accept anyone from the current government to take the premier\92s post. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Vote for new PM on Monday

Posted by hasekamp on 13 September 2008 at 12:44 PM
People Power party (PPP) MPs will vote for the person the party would nominate as new prime minister on Monday, deputy party leader Sompong Amornwiwat said Saturday. The party's resolution will be informed to coalition partners. He added that the coalition parties will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday. The candidates are Mr Sompong himself, deputy party leader Somchai Wongsawat and secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee. Mr Sompong also said the coalition parties have no objection if one of the three becomes the new prime minister. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Samak or not Samak?

Posted by hasekamp on 12 September 2008 at 16:13 PM
PPP leader Samak Sundaravej has decided to end his bid to become prime minister after witnessing the parliament session on Friday which saw many MPs disagreed with his nomination to be prime minister. Somsak Kietsuranont, PPP executive member, said that now it is understood that Samak who is disqualified for violating charter earlier this week, has decided not to accept his party's nomination for him to be prime minister again. "It is understood that Khun Samak will no longer want to be reinstate as prime minister again after the Parliamentary session on Friday morning," Somsak said. Meanwhile a well-informed source in the PPP said that Samak is highly likely that Samak will resign from the party in the near future. House speaker Chai Chidchob postponed the meeting on Friday morning after failing to meet the quorum of the House seats. Most of the coalition parties as well as part of his own PPP boycotted the session, citing Samak should not be reinstated as the premiership again. (Source: The Nation)


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Protests to continue

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2008 at 15:03 PM
Thailand\92s political crisis looks set to continue with protesters saying they will not accept anyone from the main party as prime minister. Their occupation of government headquaters helped oust Samak Sundaravey as premier. But his People Power Party has said it will seek to re-elect him in a parliamentary vote. On Tuesday the country\92s constitional court ordered him to stand down after finding him guilty of violating the constitution by hosting TV cooking shows while in office. The anti-government campaigners accuse Samak of being a puppet of the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawtra, who was forced out by a military coup in 2006. They have been occupying the compound of the prime minister\92s office for more than two weeks.
Parliament is due to elect a new prime minister on Friday. But at the moment it does not look like the vote will break the deadlock. (Source: Euronews)


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Lots of rain in Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2008 at 14:59 PM
Residents hoping for some sun to dry out the laundry might have to wait longer, as the Meteorological Department (MET) has issued a warning that Phuket and the other five Andaman Coast provinces remain at risk of heavy rains and flooding for the next two to three days. All ships should proceed with caution during this period, the weather warning said. The MET, in an advisory issued at 4 am today, advised all people in areas at high-risk of flash-flooding to remain alert and be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
The rain has been brought on by southwest monsoonal conditions, common at this time of year. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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Thaksin calls

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2008 at 11:45 AM
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is living in exile, made a call from London to make his preference known on who should be prime minister, People Power Party deputy spokesman Suthin Klangsaeng said on Thursday. Thaksin's call happened ahead of today's party meeting to nominate a sole candidate for the job, Suthin said. (Source: The Nation)


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Will Samak be back?

Posted by hasekamp on 11 September 2008 at 11:40 AM
Two days after being kicked out of office by the Constitution Court, Samak Sundaravej is on the verge of becoming prime minister again. Mr Samak on Thursday accepted a formal invitation by the People Power party to have his name put up for nomination as premier when parliament meets on Friday. The decision to nominate him again was taken at a PPP meeting on Thursday, and transmitted to Mr Samak by a top-ranking party delegation sent to his house, said PPP deputy spokesman Suthin Klangsang. "Mr Samak has accepted his nomination for prime minister," Mr Suthin told reporters. "He said he is confident that parliament will find him fit for office, and that he is happy to accept the post." The controversial re-nomination is certain to raise more opposition before MPs meet Friday morning. Anti-government protesters, business, and media editorials have called on Mr Samak not to run for premier again, after being ordered to resign by the Constitution Court on Tuesday. On Thursday, anti-Samak forces got a hint of support from the army chief. Gen Anupong Paojinda called on Thursday for the end of a state of emergency in Bangkok, imposed by Mr Samak, and said he would welcome formation of a unity government involving all political parties and perhaps outsiders. Such a "national government" appears unlikely, however. The court disqualified Mr Samak from the post because he violated the constitution by hosting two cooking shows on commercial television. The decision came just a few hours after the PPP resolved to re-elect the sacked premier for the top job in the government. Shortly before Mr Samak announced his decision, representatives of six coalition parties held a joint news conference to announced their decision to continue to form a government alliance with the ruling People Power party (PPP) at its head. In effect, PPP gets to name the cabinet, as before. They all agreed to support the person nominated by PPP as the leader of the government. The meeting was chaired by Deputy PPP leader Somchai Wongsawat - currently the acting prime minister and the man most likely to become premier if Mr Samak decides not to stand, or is defeated. Representatives of Matchimathipataya, Pracharaj, Chart Thai, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana and Puea Pandin parties announced that they will support whomever the PPP nominates for the prime minister's post. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Cooking tv show is un-constitutional

Posted by hasekamp on 9 September 2008 at 12:37 PM
The Constitution Court ruled in a unanimous verdict on Tuesday that the two TV cooking shows of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej violated the charter ban on outside employment and ordered him to leave office immediately. The 9-0 vote of the judges removes Mr Samak from office effective immediately, but leaves the way open for his return if he can persuade parliament to return him to the office. For now:
"His premiership is over, and the term of the cabinet has also expired, although according to the constitution they must remain as an acting government until there is a new prime minister and cabinet," said Constitution Court Judge Chat Chawakorn.
Under the charter, members of the cabinet except Mr Samak will continue to perform their duties as caretaker ministers until a new cabinet is appointed. The first deputy prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, will be caretaker prime minister. Supporters of anti-government group People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who have seized the Government House, screamed with happiness after hearing the verdict. Deputy leader of People Power party (PPP) Karn Thiankaew said after the verdict that PPP respects the ruling. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PAD and democracy

Posted by hasekamp on 8 September 2008 at 12:21 PM
Lately one of the views about democracy by the PAD reached the Thai media. It appears that the PAD wants one third of the seats in Parliament to be occupied by elected members, and two thirds by appointed members.
If this would happen, Thailand would make a huge step backward in its democratic values. This is a system that was known many centuries ago in Europe, and maybe also in other parts of the world. It was abandoned when democratic views began to enlighten European politics.
In Thailand the Peoples Alliance for Democracy wants, in the name of democracy, to make this huge step back. It has not yet become clear what criteria the PAD would like to have used for appointed MP's. (Editorial)


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Phuket flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 8 September 2008 at 12:09 PM
Phuket is among seven provinces for which warnings of heavy rains and possible flash flooding today and tomorrow were issued by the Meteorological Department earlier this morning.
Today Phuket gazette tv already reports heavy flooding on the island.
In its forecast, issued at 4 am, the department said a low-pressure ridge over the central, eastern and lower northeastern regions coupled with the influence of the southwest monsoon would trigger heavy rains in provinces including Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi. Wiwat Intarapanich, Chief of Weather Forecasting at the Meteorological Department office near the airport, said that September is statistically the rainiest month in Phuket, with rainfall averaging about 400 millimeters. He warned of landslides, especially in areas of hillside construction and illegal encroachment on forest land. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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PM to attend UN general assembly

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2008 at 11:49 AM
Thailand's embattled Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Sunday he will attend the United Nations General Assembly later this month and will take the opportunity to explain to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and heads of state that his government is "still able to control the situation". In his weekly TV and radio address, Mr. Samak said he will address the UN General Assembly on September 25, the same day that the Appeals Court here would pass its ruling on a libel case
against him. Mr. Samak said he has written to the court saying that he cannot attend the hearing because he must attend the world body's meeting. His letter will be submitted to the court on Monday. The outspoken prime minister said he is not concerned that the military might seize power during his upcoming absence from the country. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Stdents divided over PAD

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2008 at 11:45 AM
University students are split over whether to throw their support behind the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). One group said it would boycott classes next week in a show of support for the PAD, while another is against the PAD, arguing its proposal for "new politics" is undemocratic. According to the PAD proposal, only 30 per cent of MPs should be elected and the rest appointed from professional groups. Yesterday, a new group of college students calling itself Yaowachon Koo Chart (Young PAD Group) said some 80 to 100 students from 80 universities throughout the Kingdom would not report to classes from Tuesday until Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej resigned. "We're not following a trend in siding with the PAD," Kulthip Karn-samrit, a leader of the group, said. "But we want to be with the right side." (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding in Chiang Mai

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2008 at 11:41 AM
Many areas in the northern province of Chiang Mai are inundated due to continuous heavy rain on Saturday night. Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief Prajon Prajsakul said flooding conditions have hit many places in the municipal and different districts. He said the drainage system in some areas could not pump out water quickly, but the situation is gradually improving. Mr Prajon said the flood situation at Chiang Mai\92s municipal is not considered worrying, as the recent water level of Ping River is still less than three meters while the critical level is at 3.7 meters. The province has prepared water pumps in 40 areas to remove stagnant water, he said. The meteorological station in the north reported that heavy rain will continue falling for three more days, and it could lead to more flooding conditions in the province. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New travel warnings

Posted by hasekamp on 7 September 2008 at 10:12 AM
Singapore, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Switzerland, France and Denmark have joined the group of countries who have issued travel warnings against travelling into Thailand. Since Thailand announced the state of emergency on Tuesday, five countries immediately issued the warnings - Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and United Kingdom. Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) president Apichart Sankary said the political unrest should end before September 15, which is the start of the high season of tourism industry. Prakit Shinamourphong, president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), said business operators are worrying over political turmoil. "It is too soon to finalise the degree of impact on the hotel and tourism business, but operators are not happy with the situation," said Prakit. A number of tourists have checked out from hotels in Thailand for fears that state enterprises' labour union strikes could disrupt their travelling plans. (Source: Yahoo News)


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Flash flood in Nan

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2008 at 17:12 PM
A woman was killed and two other women went missing when flash floods hit their village late Friday night, a senior official said Saturday. Adul Kaewbanchong, chief civil disaster prevention and mitigation officer of Nan, said the flash flood hit several villages in Tambon Tanchook and Tambon Sriphume of Tha Wang Pha district at about 11:55 pm. The three women were residents of Ban Huay Thanu village of Tambon Tanchook. Adul said Khamporn Pano, 43, was washed away while trying to escape the torrential waters. Her body was found later in creek near the village. The two women, who went missing, were identified as On Uthiay, 62, and Som Chaiyasalee, 64. Adul said ten other people were injured. (Source: The Nation)


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Emergency to end soon?

Posted by hasekamp on 6 September 2008 at 17:09 PM
The state of emergency could soon be lifted but anti-government protesters expect the move would do little to ease political tension. The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) still insists that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej must resign before it will enter into talks with the government, leaving the stand-off simmering. Mr Samak said on Friday he was considering ending the state emergency he declared for Bangkok. He said it was becoming a pointless exercise as people refused to comply. The prime minister issued the emergency decree on Tuesday after PAD protesters clashed with rivals from the pro-government United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), leaving a UDD supporter dead and 43 other people injured. The decree forbids an assembly of more than five people, but PAD protesters grouped in and around Government House have refused to comply with it. In further defiance of the rule, a group of Ramkhamhaeng University students on Thursday night organized a protest march to Mr Samak's house during which two of them were shot and injured by unidentified gunmen. Army commander Gen Anupong Paojinda, who is in charge of enforcing the decree, has also refused to exercise its powers to break up the PAD protest. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Referendum will take months

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2008 at 11:37 AM
It will take at least six to seven months for the government to successfully hold a referendum to get public's view on ways to end the political turmoil because the procedures in holding one is rather complicated, election commissioner Prapan Naikowit said Friday. Mr Prapan said it will take 90 to 120 days for the Public Referendum Bill, drafted by the EC, to be reviewed by the Senate. Then, public will have another 30 days to discuss the questions and topics of the referendum before it is held. The process would be prolonged if it receives any opposition, he added. After it is published in the Royal Gazette, the premier will have to discuss with house speaker and senate speaker before the EC could set on the referendum date, according to Mr Prapan. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Mediator appointed

Posted by hasekamp on 5 September 2008 at 11:35 AM
A tri-party meeting between lower and upper houses and the opposition party agreed that Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej serve as a mediator between People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the government in order to end political turmoil. The decision came after parliamentary speaker Chai Chidchob, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Mr Prasobsuk held a meeting to find solution to political conflict. Mr Prasobsuk will carry on the task immediately. The two deputies of parliamentary speaker are tasked with a duty to create better understandings among MPs. The group is to meet again on Monday to discuss progress and obstacles that may arise in the future. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Monkeys saved

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2008 at 16:14 PM
At last some good news from Thailand.
Thai Highway Police in Sa Kaeo province have rescued 24 baby crab-eating monkeys, arresting a Thai driver and five undocumented Cambodians attempting to smuggle the endangered species to Cambodia, where they were destined for cooking pots in Chinese restaurants. Sa Kaeo Highway Police Thursday were suspicious of a pick-up truck at a check point along the Sa Kaeo-Bangkok road, as it was being driven at high-speed. Stopping the truck for a search, police found the 24 baby monkeys, each separated in a net bag, and seized equipment used for\A0catching monkeys, including nets, traps and nylon bags. After questioning, the police said the suspects were all monkey traders in Prachinburi, who had been illegally delivering the animals to Chinese specialty restaurants in Cambodia. They received Bt100 per monkey, the police said, adding that the gang carried out the illegal trade for many years. All six men were charged with smuggling endangered wildlife, while the five Cambodians were also charged with illegal entry. The crab-eating monkey is found in a wide variety of habitats, including rainforests and coastal mangrove forests. The little creatures have short arms and legs, dark noses,and black fur which turns yellow green, grey-green or reddish-brown shades as they mature. They are distinguished by blue abdominal skin. The crab-eating monkey or long-tailed macaques are among the most commonly used laboratory animal, second only to the rhesus monkey. They were used extensively in studies leading to the development of the polio vaccine. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Foreign minister resigns

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2008 at 10:27 AM
Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag resigned on Wednesday, and Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej booked early morning air time for a special speech to the nation, as he became increasingly isolated by the militant street protests. A reliable source disclosed that Mr Tej quit in apparent protest, the day after the premier declared emergency rule on Tuesday after clashes between his supporters and anti-government protesters killed one man and injured 43. Mr Samak ordered TV and radio time beginning at 7:30am (0030 GMT) on Thursday, through the Public Relations Department. Officially, he will "speak to fellow Thais about the ongoing political turmoil," PRD sources said. Unofficially, there were rumors circulating that he might decide to resign. Leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy said on Wednesday that the minimum requirement for negotiations with authorities are the resignations of Mr Samak and his cabinet. Diplomatic sources said Mr Tej quit because he was upset with the political events of the past several days. A highly-placed source at the ministry, however, said Mr Tej resigned because he needed time to nurse his ailing wife. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Referendum planned

Posted by hasekamp on 4 September 2008 at 10:23 AM
The government on Thursday approved an up-or-down national vote of confidence with a referendum that will ask every voting citizen the question: Do you want the government to continue in office? Minister of Culture Somsak Kiatsuranond briefed the media on the proposal after the special cabinet meeting. No date has been set for the vote, approved only in principle by the cabinet. The Council of State is to work out ballot questions and details of the referendum, a process Mr Somsak indicated could take a few weeks. He said the cabinet members see a referendum that asks several questions - even giving voters an opportunity to comment on the ongoing political crisis and standoff in Bangkok. Questions might include whether voters approve of the government, want it to resign, or favour a new election. "Prime Minister Samak (Sundaravej) sees this as the best solution," said Mr Somsak. The ballot will ask one simple question, whether voters want the government to stay in power, Mr Somsak said. (Source: Te Bangkok Post)


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Phuket provincial hall closed

Posted by hasekamp on 3 September 2008 at 11:22 AM
Thailand's People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters, ratcheting up their campaign against the central government of Prime
Minister Samak Sundaravej, have blockaded the entrances to Phuket Provincial Hall, preventing government officials to go to their workplaces, in an attempt to pressure the prime Minister to resign. The further blow to one of Thailand's prime tourist destinations seems deisgned to bring economic loss not only to the world-famous beach resort, but can impact that larger national economy. The main provincial government offices closed today as PAD protesters brought a number of local authorities functions to a halt. And in this way the PAD is step by step closing down the country "peacefully" for traders, investors and tourists and bringing about complete chaos. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Estimated loss: 700 billion baht

Posted by hasekamp on 3 September 2008 at 11:09 AM
Tourists are checking out of their hotels or canceling bookings, while meetings and exhibitions are being postponed, leading operators to believe Thailand will miss this year's tourism revenue target of Bt700 billion. Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) chairman Kongkrit Hiranyakit said the worsening political unrest was prompting tourists and businessmen to cancel their trips to the Kingdom. "Initially, we expected this would cause damage of between Bt50 billion and Bt60 billion, or 8 to 10 per cent of targeted revenue," he said, adding that the state of emergency was declared at a bad time, with September being the usual booking period for the high season. Kongkrit said 40 per cent of the industry's revenue was usually generated in October and November.
"Somewhere between five and 10 events in Phuket have been canceled. We're finalizing the figures for the Bangkok area in the next few days," said Malinee, adding that even if the political situation were resolved today, the number would drop 20 per cent anyway. The focus is now on the Incentive Travel and Conventions, Meetings Asia conference, which annually attracts 10,000 visitors, and next month's Bangkok Gems and Jewelery Fair. Thai Hotels Association president Prakit Chinamourpong said tourists were checking out from Phuket hotels out of fear the airport would be seized again, like last Friday. Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Phornsiri Manoharn said her agency's international offices would inform tourists about the situation and report their reactions to head office. She said the Foreign Ministry would be the main body issuing official statements to the world. (Source: The Nation)


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Investors retreat

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2008 at 18:27 PM
The government's declaration of a State of Emergency Decree has a psychological impact on foreign investor confidence and tarnishes the image of the capital as one of the region's most attractive living sites, according to private-sector executives. Pramont Sutheewong, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the declaration of the decree had psychologically affected foreign investor confidence to a major extent. Should the military and police use violent means to disperse the rally, it would worsen the situation. Mr Pramont said local and foreign investors had closely monitored the situation. So, he wanted to call on the government to cope with it very carefully. Apicharti Sang-aree, president of the Thai Tourism Business Association, said the declaration of the decree had tarnished the image of Bangkok as the world's most attractive living place. So, he called on entrepreneurs to accelerate explaining the situation to tourists for their proper understanding. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Protesters want to continue

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2008 at 11:00 AM
The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Tuesday remained defiant, insisting its protesters would continue rallying until the government resigns despite the declaration of a state of emergency in the capital. PAD coe leader Piphop Thongchai told reporters at a press conference at the PAD-occupied Government House that the government's claim for the declaration of the State of Emergency Decree was unjustified because the PAD-led rally had been staged peacefully in accordance with the Constitution. He accused the government of violating the law for instigating its supporters into confronting the PAD-led protesters, which led to an overnight clash. "I believe Prime Minister Samak is using the military to confront the people after he failed to use the police to disperse the rally. Unless the military is careful in coping with the situation, there will a repetition of bloody riots such as Black May in 1992 and the Oct 6, 1976 incident," he said. Asked what PAD would do if the military attempts to disperse the rally, Mr. Piphob said the protesters would continue to attempt to encamp at Government House. "We do not have any arms nor (will we) try to confront the military," he said, "but should the Army hurt people, that means the armed forces have sided with a tyrannical government.". (Source: Thai News Agency)


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State of emergency in Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 2 September 2008 at 10:54 AM
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok on Tuesday morning. It was invoked under the Executive Decree for National Administration under an Emergency Situation. It is to remain in effect until Nov 30. The order came after serious clashes between protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship of Thailand (UDDT) that left at least one person killed and about 40 injured. Under the prime minister's order, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, in his capacity as deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), has been appointed chairman of a committee for enforcement of the state of emergency and First Army commander Lt-Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Police Chief Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan his deputies. The prime minister also issued another order prohibiting assembly of more than five people, publication of news which may cause panic or distort facts affecting law and order, and use of buildings or vehicles as specified by the army chief. People are subject to be moved out of certain areas as ordered by the army chief. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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State Railway Board resigns

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2008 at 16:29 PM
The State Railway of Thailand's board of directors on Monday announced the resignation to show responsibility for the strike last week which has caused troubles to the public and generated over Bt60 million in losses. Chaired by Somsak Boonthong, the board said that the SRT labour union's decision to join the People's Alliance for Democracy's anti-government protest has troubled commuters. The board said such participation is not right. SRT Governor Yuthana Thapcharoen was in Nakhon Sawan and Kaeng Khoi, Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday to convince the labor union to resume the operations of at least 40-50 trips. Yuthana remains in Kaeng Khoi today as the union still block the main station with 7 locomotives. He is convinced that by today's end, some rails should be open. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD steals documents

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2008 at 16:26 PM
The People's Alliance for Democracy seized all the documents involving hiring, procurement and purchase of government projects kept inside the Government, PM's Office Permanent Secretary Chulayuth Hiranyawasit said Monday. He added that the officials from his agency went into the Government House to bring some documents out so that they can continue working. They found that those documents had been taken by the PAD. (Source: The Nation)


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PAD kills tourism

Posted by hasekamp on 1 September 2008 at 16:22 PM
The ambassadors, consuls and embassy officers stationed in Bangkok believe Thailand cannot afford to hurt its core, income-generating sectors that are intricately linked to the outside world, such as the tourism industry and foreign direct investment (FDI). Like the Thai public, two foreign representatives are tensely watching if this political battle will turn the clock of Thailand's democracy backwards, in which case they would have to accept the Thai people's choice with pity. Since the ouster of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, there have been no major dangerous signs until the past several days, when clashes between police and demonstrators took place. According to the ambassador, the latest disturbances were the two bomb blasts in the protest vicinity that are starting to shatter the fragile confidence of the tourism sector. Inevitably, Thailand depends largely on the revenue from this sector. If there are more incidents of violence and more bombs go off on either side, both the tourists and foreign investors will unfortunately be scared away. The anti-government PAD's siege of the Government House has gone on for about a week now. And there is no sign they would consider retreating. At the same time, the pro-government United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) has given its marching orders and is moving ever closer to the encamped PAD demonstrators - a move that is causing people to worry about violent clashes. The increasingly grim outlook has caused another wave of concern among the diplomatic corps, who have only restored recognition of Thailand since the Dec 23 election when the country managed to have a democratically elected government once again, after more than a year under military coup. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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